Our Instagram Culture Is Making Us All Feel Inadequate: Reality Vs Filtered Reality

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so it’s no surprise that image sharing platform Instagram is ranked as the most important social network for the majority of internet savvy users. Instagram now has over 300 million active users, who share on average 70 million photos a day; in the six years since its launch we’ve shared over four times more photos than there are human beings on earth. It’s easy to consume, fun to curate, universal in language and it’s not going anywhere soon. Although the platform started as a fun place to share pictures and tell stories, in the last twelve months its moved towards being an incredibly curated, filtered and edited view of life as we strive to publish content we *think* followers want to see. Gone are the quick snaps in the pub, the selfies in front of the mirror and the shoes we spot in Topshop; in their place are Vogue-worthy images, carefully edited holiday pictures from exotic locations, an awash of white backgrounds and selfies that are starting to look less like a real person every day. I adore Instagram and I’m as guilty as the next person of using flatlays, marble backgrounds and well-lit images of products, but I’m also aware of the fact that my account has to be a true reflection of real life. I’m happy to share pictures of my boyfriend and pets, provide a snapshot into my weekend or showcase some of my purchases, but I’ve noticed that too many accounts are increasingly concerned about everything fitting into a ‘theme’ or providing a view of their life that just isn’t realistic. Like many others, I’m becoming increasingly disengaged with a lot of influencers because their images (although beautiful) are no longer relatable.

Recently I started a conversation on Twitter about how it’s not the norm to own your own perfect Pinterest-worthy marble covered house in your early twenties, and it’s not the norm to be doing hauls from Net-A-Porter on a regular basis. Unsurprisingly in generated a lot of conversation and a lot of agreement – mainly from those saying “I really needed to hear this today.” I’ve nothing but admiration for those that have achieved those things through hard work, dedication and a great work ethic, but it has to be understood that this isn’t normal life for the majority of people scrolling through their Instagram feed. Increasingly digital influencers have perpetuated an image of what it’s like to be a twenty-something that’s so far removed from reality that it’s like they’re all Keeping Up With The Kardashians. The difference with the Kardashians is that we know they’re celebrities; we know they’re living an unusual lifestyle reserved only for the lucky minority, and we can process that information accordingly. When it’s a ‘normal’ girl from London snapchatting eight Chanel bags at a time, holidaying ten times a year and eating out every other day of the week, it starts to make us feel like we’re failing at life.

For me, there are two main issues. Firstly, that the increasingly competitive and idealistic nature of Instagram means more and more of us are posting pictures that show only the most polished and aspirational elements of our lives; all we see is perfection, we don’t see reality. Secondly, so much of it is overly edited and ‘creatively published’ that it’s not even real life for those actually posting it. There are so many sneaky ways influencers are curating a perfect view of their lives – including ordering clothes online to take photos before returning them straight after, spreading out a trip or dinner over a number of weeks (if not months) to make it look like they’re always living it up, falsifying ‘press gifts’ or experiences to give their presence credibility, or simply buying followers and likes to appear more popular or influencial than they actually are. Social media is such a numbers game and it’s easy to get caught up in how many followers, likes or comments every single picture gets, but increasingly I’m hearing that those previously in awe of their favourite bloggers are turning away because they simply can’t relate. As we age our interests change and our disposable incomes tend to increase, but what I’m seeing is less the evolution of an individual that I can follow and enjoy, and more a transition into something that’s so far departed from where they started I wonder how real it actually is.

Blogging has opened up a huge amount of opportunities for those working hard to create great content and an audience who enjoys it; it’s given a generation of young girls the ability to buy what they want, fly where they want and do what they want without being constrained by a nine-to-five. Digital media is something to be absolutely celebrated, but I worry for the next generation of teens and twenty-somethings that genuinely think this is real life for everybody – and feeling inadequate when their day-to-day experiences don’t live up to those they follow. I’ve never seen so many young women sporting designer bags as I do now, and I’ve never seen so many jet off to tropical destinations seemingly every other week; whether we want to be or not, we’re influenced by what we see and compare ourselves to the benchmarks we have in front of us. The reason bloggers became so influencial was because they were relatable. They were the girls-next-door, shopping in Primark and Superdrug just like us; they were all about finding bargains and the best dupes, styling up a dress five ways so you didn’t have to buy a new one, and creating wishlists of things we all wanted to buy but probably couldn’t afford to do so until payday. However, with the increase in sponsored opportunities and the incredibly amounts of money being thrown at those with huge numbers, a Prada bag is now as accessible as one from New Look. A huge amount of these influencers are now living a completely different lifestyle to the one we first saw (and that’s great!) but the key issue is that their readers are still the same – and they still want to know the best dupe for an Urban Decay eyeshadow palette.

One of my biggest concerns about our Instagram culture is the huge amount of photo manipulation that occurs on a daily basis. I’ve actually met some bloggers in real life I didn’t even recognise, because their Instagram shots are so filtered, face tuned and edited that they don’t actually look like them at all. Understandably we all want to look as good as possible in a picture (and I don’t shy away from the fact I’ve got a certain pose to get the right selfie angle,) but when these ‘normal’ girls are manipulating their images to excess they’re having a significant impact on a generation that sees this as standard behaviour. In my youth we weren’t that aware of how much photoshopping went on in magazines and just accepted it as normal; in 2016 it seems the magazines have backtracked and now celebrate the lack of re-touching, while our girl-next-door influencers are embracing photoshopping it like it’s 1999. When the tools are there at your disposal it’s hard to refuse them, but collectively we have a responsibility – to not only younger generations, but women as a whole – to show ourselves as we are, flaws and all. I’m a firm believer in the fact that with influence comes responsibility, and I think some have lost themselves along the way and got so caught up in all the luxurious press trips that they’ve forgotten to think about how everything could be perceived.

By no means is this a critique of those that have achieved great things (that should be celebrated) or have been given amazing opportunities, but it’s about saying ‘keep it real’. Remember who your audience is and remember why you started. So in an ideal world, what would I like to see? A touch more normality, a splash of realism, a little rough around the edges and a lot less editing. Maybe a picture of something high street amidst a flurry of designer pieces, or a dirty burger between every super healthy breakfast smoothie – a touch of ‘she’s just like me’, rather than ‘I’ll never have that life’. I guess I’m just bored of seeing so much perfection, when I’m normally sat in my pyjamas surrounded by half empty coffee cups. I know that’s not Instagrammable, but here’s hoping the next generation of Instagram stars manage to make even that look pretty.

What are your thoughts on the development of Instagram content and the perfection curated by many influencers?

PS: No examples are based on real people; I’ve changed any references as this post isn’t intended to make any individual feel targeted or under scrutiny, just comment on the general state of what’s currently going on.

Features PR samples unless otherwise stated. To read my full disclaimer, click here.  




  1. Pam Scalfi
    June 3, 2016 / 4:20 pm

    I completely agree to this! lol ive met a few bloggers and I could not recognise them at all. goes to show how many filters was used on that face!Pam xo/ Pam Scalfi♥

    • Hayley Carr
      June 4, 2016 / 3:38 pm

      It's worrying.

  2. BritishBeautyBlogger
    June 3, 2016 / 4:31 pm

    Very insightful as usual Hayley and echoing what a lot of us feel. Ultimately, the real losers in the situation are the readers or followers who don't stop to question what's real and what isn't. Faking your own life isn't nearly as wrong as kidding your followers.

    • Hayley Carr
      June 4, 2016 / 3:39 pm

      It's so hard to identify what's real and what isn't anymore – you have to have such a skilled eye to identify it, and unfortunately the majority of young and easily influenced young women have no clue.

  3. Anonymous
    June 3, 2016 / 6:07 pm

    I agree with you. I thought that Instagram was something fun. You have your own fotoalbum which you can share with all your friends and vice versa. But the more I saw other people pictures, the more I got depressed. I compared myself with all the others. All beautiful, with stunning bodies, a skin to die for, a lovely house/family/boyfriend, so many friends, likes en followers and so one: a life that I want but will never get. After reading your article I took a break from Instagram. At this moment it is just too much for me. I just want to say, thank you for your article, it just opened my eyes a bit. (Sorry for my bad english, it isn't my language).

    • Hayley Carr
      June 4, 2016 / 3:40 pm

      Thanks for sharing your insight and experience – I'm sorry you've felt this way. I only hope some others read your comments and understand even a little the effect that can be had.

  4. Stephanie Hartley
    June 3, 2016 / 6:44 pm

    This post really sums up how I've been feeling recently! I'm actually really starting to disengage from big bloggers I used to love because their lifestyles are so beyond what mine would ever be. They never talk about what they're like on a lazy day, or ever suggest that they have troubles. I know we're all meant to keep things light and fluffy, but bloggers are meant to be reachable, and some are turning into Kardashian-esque celebs.Steph – http://www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

    • Hayley Carr
      June 4, 2016 / 3:42 pm

      I think it sums up what a lot of people have been feeling recently; I've had so many discussions with other bloggers, readers and friends about how the impact of the overly filtered reality of Instagram is causing them to feel so horrendous about themselves. I hope things change a little in the coming months.

  5. Anonymous
    June 3, 2016 / 7:10 pm

    I must say that I agree. Quite a lot of bloggers/youtubers I started following I can no longer relate. What they show on the blog as if it is a normal thing is not what one can afford so much or so often. I am actually finding myself skipping their content more and more and no longer reading/watching it.

    • Hayley Carr
      June 4, 2016 / 3:43 pm

      The normality of many of them isn't the normality of the majority; often that's forgotten and alienates. Hopefully you'll find some new content to read soon!

  6. Beekeyper
    June 3, 2016 / 7:32 pm

    A-freakin'-men. Thanks so much for posting this. It is so true – this perfection culture just creates really weird and skewed life goals and ideals for your twenties. Many of which are completely not achieveable for most people-and surely that is only going to lead to discontentment and a feeling of inadequacy and failure in the long run.Beekeyper

    • Hayley Carr
      June 4, 2016 / 3:44 pm

      That's my worry – is that this will have such a negative impact on future generations.

  7. Anonymous
    June 3, 2016 / 9:14 pm

    Not aimed at anyone? 'Purple haired girl from Manchester' and 'Brigton girl-next-door'? You brought up some good points and debates about how we perceive unrealistic imagery online and that it can have a negative effect in some cases. However, yor article comes across as bitter, repetitive and angry with a rather sad perspective yourself. These people are every day people who have worked their asses off to be where they are – are you saying if you were earning enough money to buy luxuries without worrying when you'd next pay your food bill you would buy cheaper things out of principle? And if you did treat yourself to something, you wouldn't want to share it and show others? I don't think so somehow. People live by their means, it's taken years of hard work and dedication for bloggers to get where they are. I for one read blogs regularly and they've made me motivated to travel more, visit different restaurants/places and try out some products that I really love and made me feel better about myself. I think these people do show their real life sides, snapchat and vlogs regularly depict bloggers in their pyjamas, no makeup, having what would be classed as a boring day – most of the bigger youtubers I watch make it very clear that life isn't always glamorous and they work very hard, I think they are socially responsible and do make sure people are reminded of this regularly, so it's not very fair to assume that just because they are posting a shot of their new bag on Instagram that they aren't making their viewers aware that this is something they've worked for and they took the photo whilst standing in a pasta-stained day old t-shirt. Also although you point out the readers are the same people, they grow up too – I don't think after five years of watching a blogger I want to know another dupe, bloggers have to create new and fresh content and although they gain new readers, the original viewers have grown up with them and their content reflects this.

    • Hayley Carr
      June 4, 2016 / 3:25 pm

      I'm in no ways undermining hard work or the achievements of any – that's not what this is about. It's about understanding the responsibility we have as influencers and the perception of our daily lives. I see SO many people (particularly young girls) beating themselves up about not having the things their blog heroes do, so I just believe we need a touch of reality with our aspirational content. Even bloggers my own age and older need reminding that they're not a failure if their lives don't reflect what they see on Instagram. I'm lucky to have worked my butt off for years to be able to afford to do and buy whatever I like (and yes I can afford to do Net-A-Porter hauls) but I choose to not necessarily show that out of personal choice. I'm not saying that's right or wrong, but a lot of people are feeling disengaged right now. I've always made a concerted effort to open up conversation and debate and that will never change; it's important to have these discussions, but unfortunately those that disagree always bring out the 'you're bitter, twisted and and jealous' card which is so far removed from the truth. You raise a good point about viewers growing up with them (which I think some do) but from what I'm hearing (and reading via the many other similar blog posts out there at the moment) that's not necessarily the case.

  8. Anonymous
    June 3, 2016 / 9:33 pm

    You seem very bitter in this post. Your tweet stating that 'Net a porter hauls aren't normal' etc.. Just seems like complete jealously toward the more successful and younger bloggers than you. You aren't the be all and end all of more down to earth blogs, and in case you hadn't noticed… your blog features a LOT of badly placed sponsored content. Perhaps that's why you're not hauling things from Net-A-Porter yet? Also, your descriptions of 'anonymous/made up' bloggers were so obviously shade at we all know who. I think I'm signing off from reading your blog as you always slyly bash bloggers who aren't 'real' and accuse them of being 'fake'.

    • Hayley Carr
      June 4, 2016 / 3:38 pm

      It's so frustrating that the instant reaction when anyone has the guts to voice an opinion held by many, is that it's jealousy. Some bloggers are so wrapped up in their own bubbles that they forget about the negative impact their words, actions and images can have on those around them; my initial tweets weren't aimed at the bloggers, but at those feeling inadequate – reminding them that it's not the norm, but the exception, and they shouldn't feel like a failure. However, as per usual that seems to have only cemented the actions of some by believing it's all about them. Re my sponsored content, it's always 100% relevant and is a hell of a lot less than many other sites as I only work with brands that absolutely fit. If you don't like it, or me, I wish you well and hope you find another site that meets your requirements more wholeheartedly.

  9. Laura
    June 4, 2016 / 7:49 am

    This post is fantastic. I agree wholeheartedly!! Where's the girls gone that shop in primark..nip in for a necklace and come out with 2 huge bags? Or the girls that find the perfect heels in the sale at new look! I'm the first to admit I love some designer stuff but the reality is – I can't afford it!! A girl can dream 🙂 xxx

    • Hayley Carr
      June 4, 2016 / 3:46 pm

      Thanks Laura. I love designer stuff too, but I'm not a Kardashian or a Beckham either! It's about balance; I feel like there's such an excessive spending culture being created that I worry for the financial status of the next generations who have four Valentino bags on credit.

  10. Amanda Jayne
    June 4, 2016 / 1:00 pm

    This is really well said. I hate trying to find new bloggers to follow on Instagram because I'm always recommended the girl with the Chanel handbags and the bikini photos on the beach and it isn't relatable and is somewhat depressing. That said, I couldn't not have a theme with my Instagram these days. I love beauty flatlays and it means I can regularly post on Insta – before I would post like twice or three times a month, if even that! I actually enjoy posting now. I know my post is a bit devoid of my personal life but I talk about that stuff in my captions and on the blog & Twitter so I don't stray from admitting things aren't perfect. They are far from it! Bloggers are supposed to be regular girls we can reach out to, so it's kinda sad that so many are becoming so unapproachable. I definitely feel disengaged with a lot of them – especially the ones I followed at the beginning that have gone viral and achieved celebrity status since. :/Amanda Jayne | beauty, style, life

    • Hayley Carr
      June 4, 2016 / 3:47 pm

      For me that's the crux – that so many 'normal' girls are no so far removed from normal we can't relate. The tides have turned so much and we're now in a completely different landscape.

  11. Sophie Blumenthal
    June 4, 2016 / 6:12 pm

    This is so so so true, totally get what you're saying!Sophie x

  12. BritishBeautyBlogger
    June 4, 2016 / 7:12 pm

    Just going to dip in and say that I get enough emails from readers.. most recently from a 26 year old feeling she has 'failed at life' because she thinks she will never have any of the things she sees on aspirational blogs.. to know that there is genuinely a detremental effect. I think it's perfectly okay to showcase your belongings as long as it's a genuine reflection of your life – it's what magazines like Vogue do every month: show us all things we can't afford! But Instagram stars/Vloggers/Bloggers are a new phenomenon and has yet to prove that what you have does not make who you are. I think how you show your success is crucial especially if you know you have young 'fans'. You can be an inspiring and creative person without having to tell everyone what lovely bags you can buy.

    • Hayley Carr
      June 5, 2016 / 12:53 pm

      100% agree with you Jane. I've heard SO many stories from young women (but also my age and older) who feel they don't have value because they don't have the coveted belongings or go to exotic locations on holiday; it's having such a negative impact on the emotional state of a whole generation. I agree you can showcase what you have and your life in whatever way you please, as long as it's done with responsibility and a little understanding of the fact it's not the norm for everybody.

  13. Natalie
    June 5, 2016 / 5:34 am

    I just wanted to say thank you for giving us such a well written post, I completely agree and things are on a totally different scale when our fellow girl next door types post such warped ideas of what 'real' life is. It's different when you buy a copy of Vogue or watch some reality tv show as many know that it is not the average persons lifestyle. But it is harder to differentiate when it's girls our own age from similar backgrounds projecting this image of a lifestyle that looks more suited to belong in a magazine spread. Studies have shown that despite this generation having social media at their fingertips and friends a click away we are more lonely, depressed and isolated than ever…it's not hard to see why.

    • Hayley Carr
      June 5, 2016 / 12:55 pm

      Absolutely Natalie. I hope something changes – I hate the thought of digital media having such a detrimental effect on the way young men and women feel. That's not where it was born from; it's evolved into an ugly (Louis Vuitton carrying) beast.

  14. Lena
    June 5, 2016 / 11:20 am

    I loved this post. It's so easy to get caught up with what other people have, and when I was a teenager I really suffered with jealousy comparing myself to others – and that was just the other girls at school. Now with social media and the internet it's phenomenal! I'm 25 and I get jealous of these super rich youtubers and bloggers and their curated lives – but it's not normal! Sometimes how fake things get makes me want to delete my blog and instagram, because I feel like I can never ever keep up…but then I really enjoy it.

    • Hayley Carr
      June 5, 2016 / 12:56 pm

      It's definitely about 'keeping up' isn't it. Even if we're rational and intelligent women, when it's in your face 24/7 it's hard to remain that way! Keep up your blog Lena, as I have a feeling the demand for old school blogging is just around the corner.

  15. Sharon Hingley
    June 5, 2016 / 10:33 pm

    Another excellent post. I can count the blogs/Instagram I regularly read /follow on two hands now. I am tired of perfection and the pretence of such perfect lives. I like bloggers with an actual opinion, like you, who challenge me as a follower and do not gush over everything and pretend that a pizza has never crossed their perfectly painted lips. Young girls have it tough enough these days without bloggers who they trust and look up to acting as if they are celebrities and portraying lives that are so perfect they are unbelievable.

  16. Unknown
    June 6, 2016 / 1:13 am

    Couldn't agree more! Thank you for your refreshing perspective xxwww.hairhouse.com.au

  17. Anonymous
    June 6, 2016 / 8:49 am

    I never comment on a blog but I just couldn't let this one go past. Everything you have said is so on the money. I've had to unfollow so many bloggers / vloggers because they have moved past why I started following them – the relatable / need advice / what's new & trending aspect. Comments recently "I never thought I'd get a Chanel bag so soon" …. spending over £1k on a bag are items that people should aspire to own (I personally do) but also understanding the value of money and realising that 'normal' people don't go out and drop £1k on a bag every other month to do a new unboxing. There is no "build up", no "I've been thinking about this for awhile now" – straight into 'I was in Paris and in the Chanel store so thought why not?!'…A drop decision like that is not the norm – should not be the measure of success and we are not failures if we do not live that way. It's not bitter to say that … it's that most won't reach that level – good on you, well done and congratulations that you have but I'm pretty sure that for most viewers / readers it's not going to happen and you do move far away from why people were interested in you in the first place. Plus is there not something a bit more classy about not shoving it down people's throats ? And don't get me started on sponsorships & freebies ……

    • Hayley Carr
      June 6, 2016 / 9:51 am

      I do think it's very OTT to be uploading a new designer bag every week. It alienates people and I can't even relate – as a 33yr old with enough income to be able to afford it if I wanted. I think sharing your life and your purchases is great, but it's about having a sense of reality and understanding how it makes young people in particular feel. Unsurprisingly though the bloggers in question have responded in a childish, bitchy and shady way rather than understanding why everyone is starting to speak up.

  18. I.S.S.A
    June 6, 2016 / 9:23 am

    Your article makes a lot of sense, I really agree with your points. Indeed, it's getting harder and harder to find relatable bloggers and influencers, since they get a lot of opportunities and gifts from brands. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. I think that we should focus more on educating the readers, rather than asking bloggers to switch their approach. If they can afford all those designer bags and trips now, it's safe to say they won't stop showing them off on all social media platforms. I imagine they are aware of their influence, but nothing is going to change anytime soon.So our biggest responsibility now is to speak to our readers, to let them know how far-fetched is that Instagram reality and that they shouldn't compare their lives with those perfectly curated feeds. I also wrote a post about this topic, because I think that social media is what you make of it, and we can still have fun and enjoy it, without getting hurt or feeling frustrated.http://www.bloggerissa.com/how-to-play-the-game-of-follows-and-likes-on-social-media-without-getting-hurt/Kisses,Bloggerissa

    • Hayley Carr
      June 6, 2016 / 9:52 am

      I do think you're right; education is key, because like you say they're not stopping any time soon. I think many bloggers/vloggers will turn into celebrities and hopefully that will bring perspective that the life they lead is not the norm – and that if yours doesn't reflect that it's absolutely ok.

  19. Unknown
    June 9, 2016 / 2:27 pm

    Great post – xxx

  20. Anonymous
    June 9, 2016 / 9:52 pm

    Although I don't think you should have alluded so specifically to other bloggers as i think we can all guess who this applies too, I think your points are totally valid, I'm having to skip blog posts and videos because the way these girls portray normal life just isn't normal, it's this strange, superficial filtered life that has become so I relatable to me. They talk about problems like all the long haul flights effecting their skin and jet lag-not that problems the average woman has. The fact that so many of these holidays and designer goodies are from PR means that even when I have saved up and am looking to spend my pennies, I no longer trust their opinions as its all just for their Instagram feed now.

  21. Love and Other Awesome Stuff !
    June 9, 2016 / 10:01 pm

    *clapping* I missed this post until I saw the hate it was getting on Twitter and can I just say you are completely right!! I'm perfectly comfortable when it comes to money and the life I live BUT even I feel inadequate watching some of the bloggers/vloggers I used to love. I fell into the trap of the themed Instagram feed and it SUCKS. Some of these photos were taken weeks in advance because they fit the colour scheme…this is not life, it's not natural or organic it's just following the paint by numbers theory of being a "successful" influencer. I love it when people that work hard achieve their dreams but I'm not believing that the girl that absolutely adored her New Look wardrobe two years ago, has completely changed as a person and now only wears designer. This may not make sense but yeah I agree with you! Thanks for giving me somewhere to rant it out *haha* 🙂

  22. Georgia Rivers
    June 10, 2016 / 7:09 am

    Yes Jane! I feel like you are successful but you are still you, doing your periscopes in your kitchen with your blanket and cup of tea but you have so much useful knowledge and experience of the industry. You aren't trying to push a lifestyle!

  23. Laura Nolan
    June 10, 2016 / 9:10 am

    Could not agree more with this post. I have unfollowed so many bloggers who just seem unrelatable, some of which I used to read their blogs all the time. While I can and do buy designer items, I very rarely put them on my blog and/or social media and if I do, it's something I have been saving up for for a long time! To me, the whole point of blogging is to be relatable and so your readers can go out and buy the same or similar products, can we have this back please?

    • Hayley Carr
      June 11, 2016 / 9:10 am

      100% Laura. Blogging evolves, as do individuals, but it's become so glossy and perfected I'm just switching off – as are the majority of others, according to the discussion this post has generated.

  24. Anonymous
    June 10, 2016 / 10:31 am

    I had to do a bit of digging to find this post, as everyone was talking about it but no one was linking to it. First of all, can I get an AMEN. It's NOT normal to spend £1K on a designer bag and jetting off to all this luxurious holidays when you're just out of uni . Sure, these guys have worked for it, but they act as if it's the most normal thing in the world. I also want to know what they do with all the extra items they get gifted. Do they give them away, do they donate them? Do any of these luxe bloggers give back in any way? I haven't seen any of them do anything other than feed their own egos.

    • Hayley Carr
      June 11, 2016 / 9:09 am

      It's the normality that I find both frustrating and worrying. I salute anyone that works to achieve great things (and nobody would sniff at being able to afford a designer bag every other week,) but it's the fact it's portrayed in a such a way that it's normal and just daily life. I recently saw a post where a blogger saw another's Valentino bag in a pastel colour and liked it – so they went out and bought the same one as if it was a Topshop number. That is the kind of attitude I think it wrong to showcase so flippantly.

  25. Elizabeth Red
    June 10, 2016 / 10:54 am

    I agree completely. I tend to only post pictures of things I've bought and am going to review but i do take the photos as artfully as i can, because a) i think they look nice and b) because im trying to be a good photographer but i refuse to post my face more than i need to.Saying that i think im going to post more life based pictures rather than just posed objects

  26. Anonymous
    June 10, 2016 / 11:07 am

    The shame about this post is the original included descriptions of the Gleam team. It pretty much stole the attention away from the VERY valid point."A huge amount of these influencers are now living a completely different lifestyle to the one we first saw (and that's great!) but the key issue is that their readers are still the same” <<< THIS, you hit the nail on the head.Pointing out that the way a lot of bloggers content has evolved in a way that is no longer relatable to the bulk of their loyal readers is NOT an insult.We can salute their ability to buy Chanel handbags and be happy for their opportunities. We even know they worked hard for it… but it doesn’t change the fact the vast majority of their followers didn’t become millionaires with them. So their content has now gone from being useful dupe and affordable style to the same as flicking through Vogue.

    • Hayley Carr
      June 11, 2016 / 9:06 am

      Honestly, the initial descriptions were generalisations and blogger stereotypes – nothing to do with individuals – but yes, it was taking the attention away from the point I was trying to make so I deleted that one sentence. (It's a shame 1% of a blog post overshadows the actual point of the article; most conversation has been about pinpointing who I was refering to – and I'm up to about 37 different assumptions right now!) I've learned my lesson on that. But yes, you're absolutely right – it's changed from reading heat magazine to Vogue, while still being the same person with the same interests throughout.

    • Anonymous
      June 11, 2016 / 10:51 am

      Whether they were generalisations or not, the fact people have easily linked to the likes of those people is it's such an accurate description of them… and I'm not talking about the "purple hair" bit but the fact their faces are now all soft focus and their blogs feature luxury goods rather than relatable content.These girls have got so defensive and bitchy in the same way teenagers do the old "they're jealous of" me when they receive criticism.It's not even that the ordinary viewers can't afford luxury items (if you have a job anyone can, it's just what you choose to prioritise) or endless holidays. The truth is, it's visually boring in spite of the filters and soft focus because it's not the content we signed up for. We get it, you have better opportunities and you're evolving… but if your blog becomes about aspiring to have the most expensive handbag and showing off your avocado toast you've lost your USP.

  27. Allie Perry
    June 10, 2016 / 3:23 pm

    Great point Haley, I completely agree! Since when did teenagers start using anti-aging lotions and potions or being able to afford the likes of Chanel, Mac and Ysl? I thought we had come a long way when media images have become less photoshopped, models are regular sizes and older women are being represented more but then on social media platforms we seem to be going backwards! I want to know what dupes are out there, where the best bargains are and reviews of products I actually use!

    • Hayley Carr
      June 11, 2016 / 9:11 am

      That's how I feel – we've gone backwards, same problems just a different outlet.

  28. Anastasia
    June 10, 2016 / 3:50 pm

    This is a spot on article thanks so much for sharing! Here are my thoughts::I work in the University as a researcher and I am also a lecturer (of Soil Biophysics so before anyone judges, its completely irrelevant to blogging and marketing). Before or after my lectures I often discuss with students-who know I am a blogger- and always ask me about other bloggers and how they make money to live these perfect lives as presented on Instagram.Through my conversations I realised that the sad truth is today's young generation aspires more to become involved into blogging than in science and research! And the reason behind this is because they -wrongly- think it is easier to become a blogger and become rich than to become a doctor or an engineer and make good money. They also think that since they cannot afford trips/expensive handbags at their 20's they are a failure (!) and something is wrong with their lives. I have to explain that it takes years of work to get to a level of successful blogging, however the message I always try to pass to my students is that, it is perfectly OK even if you don't own an expensive bag. It is OK if you don't have the perfect *in most cases photoshopped* abs and it is OK if you work in a coffee shop part time and can barely pay your monthly rent. It is also OK if you study hard to get a degree (or two) and are in the stressful procedure of trying to get a job to make a living. This is life! Life has challenges, life has ups and downs and blogging is not a career that lasts forever (it is barely a career for many), so there is nothing wrong with a 20 something student's life if travelling and expensive clothes/bags is not involved.I understand that the more you have a nice Instagram theme, the more followers you gain hence jobs and freebies, but I wish someone would come out and talk to young girls and say 'hey, you are doing fine, you are doing just fine even without a Prada bag'!Thanks for sharing once again.xAnastasia

    • Hayley Carr
      June 11, 2016 / 9:12 am

      Thank you SO much for your comment Anastasia – this sums up my fears exactly. I worry for the next generation for these very reasons and I think it irresponsible for so many bloggers to not realise the impact their actions, images and shopping habits have on people watching. I hope having a lecturer like you helps them to make good decisions in their lives!

  29. Charlotte G
    June 13, 2016 / 10:39 am

    Hello,I thought I’d add my two pence piece… I agree with this completely. Is a theme really something to live by?I actually feel insulted by those instagrammers you refer to. As a 30+ year old woman, am I to believe this really is how they live their lives? No (x, y and z) you didn’t actually buy that 1K bag… I know that because you have thanked the shop that sent it to you as a gift and tagged the brand. And you think just because you are showing it on your pretty bedsheets (that you also link to) you think I’m that foolish to click Liketkit and buy said bag. LOL. Actually lol. But LBQ you post rings true because, and without insulting others intelligence, not all people will think like me. They may be impressionable young girls who aspire to own items in these pictures and it is really sad. It is an unattainable lifestyle because really these bloggers are nothing without their readership and I am increasingly unfollowing such bloggers, as are others like me. I think a lot of these bloggers are just enjoying while it lasts.I for one don’t want to spend 1K on a bag that someone got for free. Hello, LV, prada etc you have basically just devalued your brand by sending it out in droves. And it’s funny because feed after feed they all post the same thing, nothing is original now. A Cambridge sachel with x, y and z’s initials – you can even picture said bags leaving some PR bods desk before last post on a Thursday night to ensure it arrives before the weekend. Do I want a Cambridge sachel bag with my initials? Yes. Am I going to buy one NOW after seeing that? No.I’m increasingly getting more peeved at this culture. I mean, I bought a super sweet dress from the Alexa Chung collection and on someone’s Instagram feed is the whole collection, neatly folded (probably on their roll out “marble”, thanking Alexa and M&S for this new, super sweet “haul” that arrived on the doorstep and you know what, it’s annoying. I think this culture of gifting will fall on its sorry ass. I mean, look at depop. Hey M&S by the way, that dress you sent X is now on depop. Maybe I’ll buy it from that for half the store price. #justsaying.Thanks for this super honest post."The only people mad at you for speaking the truth are those living a lie. Keep speaking it."Charlie x

  30. Kezzie
    June 19, 2016 / 3:04 pm

    I think you make many good points. It IS worrying and there is a lot of depression and self-lack of worth. Ive only just startrd using IG but I've enjoyed trying to make pretty pictures of books but in the interests of keeping it real, I've just posted a picture of a week's worth of washing up!I guess the reason some people have reacted to this negatively and said you must be jealous is because nobody wants to think they are a negative influence and perhaps you've hit a nerve by implying that and they don't like to think that they might be perceived in such a way!

  31. Lauren Maria
    June 26, 2016 / 3:03 pm

    Love this post. I'm in my thirties and find myself looking at perfect instagrammers lives wth jealous so god knows the impact these things have on young girls. A lot of my favourite bloggers are now pretty big and get. Fair amount of designer/high end pieces, they still rock a bit of Primark and h&m to keep it real though lolLaurenlivinginaboxx | bloglovin

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